50 pages 1 hour read

Mikhail Lermontov

A Hero Of Our Time

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1838

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Important Quotes

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“His name was Grigori Aleksandrovich Pechorin. He was a splendid fellow, I can assure you, but a little peculiar.”

(Book 1, Chapter 2, Page 12)

Maksim Maksimych has a positive impression of Pechorin, but he acknowledges that Pechorin is strange (“a little peculiar”) in a way that he cannot define. This introduction to Pechorin’s character establishes him as a person of mystery and contradictions.

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“And so they settled the business—a bad business, to tell the truth! I said as much to Pechorin afterwards, but he only answered that a wild Circassian girl ought to consider herself fortunate in having such a charming husband as himself.”

(Book 1, Chapter 4, Page 19)

Throughout the novel, Maksim Maksimych and others acknowledge the immorality of other’s actions—in this case, Pechorin’s marriage to the kidnapped Bela—but do nothing to intervene. This exemplifies the moral laxity that Lermontov criticizes through his characters in the theme The Danger of Moral Indifference. This passage also reveals the double standards and hypocrisy of men like Pechorin, who dismisses Bela as a “wild Circassian girl” seemingly lacking in refinement or true culture, while he himself—the "charming husband”—behaves in morally questionable ways, thereby exposing The Hypocrisy of Russian High Society.

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“Perhaps, however, you would like to know the conclusion of the story of Bela? In the first place, this is not a novel, but a collection of travelling-notes, and, consequently, I cannot make the staff-captain tell the story sooner than he actually proceeded to tell it. Therefore, you must wait a bit, or, if you like, turn over a few pages.”

(Book 1, Chapter 7, Page 27)

The narrator often addresses the reader directly, which disrupts the novelistic conventions of the time. This trope lends an illusion of authenticity to Pechorin’s notebooks as real-life artifacts and the narrator’s account as a presentation of true events. Lermontov intends to challenge the reader’s expectations, both in the novel’s subject matter and form.